Make Your Own Summer Sun Tea

July 21, 2015

Sun TeaNow that we are in the middle of summer and temperatures climb, it's the perfect time to not only enjoy a cold glass of iced tea, but to make your own sun tea, too. I've found myself drinking a lot of iced tea over the past few years (it probably has something to do with parental sleep deprivation). I usually buy bottles of Tejava tea, which I love because it's unsweeted and has a good strong tea flavor.

I decided to try making my own and maybe save a little money in the process. I remember my mom making sun tea way back when, and thought I'd give it a try. The results were really fantastic, so I thought I'd share them here. It's really easy to do, really inexpensive, and the kids actually had fun helping make it.

You'll need:

Jump and Play at Rebounderz Indoor Trampoline Arena in Rohnert Park

July 20, 2015

Rebounderz Rohnert Park

Families looking for active indoor fun should head up north to Rohnert Park and check out the new Rebounderz Indoor Trampoline Arena. We paid a visit last week to give it a try and everyone had a fantastic time! Rebounderz features a truly massive trampoline area, foam pits, a giant climbing structure, a dedicated toddler park, and more! There’s also an arcade, a café, and a parents’ lounge with wifi and big-screen TVs where you can watch your kids as they play.

Spend the Night at a Bay Area Museum

July 20, 2015

museum sleepoverIf you're looking for a fun and unique overnight experience for the family, try camping out at a local San Francisco Bay Area museum, zoo, or wildlife center! Popular family destinations like the California Academy of Sciences, the Marine Mammal Center, the San Francisco Zoo, the USS Hornet Museum, and Children’s Fairyland all offer exciting programs where families can spend the night. It'll be kind of like the movie Night at the Museum, except that the dinosaurs and dioramas won't come alive after hours (we hope)!

Needless to say, all of these events require advance reservations and have limited space, so register for your overnight adventure soon! Many of these venues also offer overnight programs for scouts, schools, and other youth groups. All information is correct at time of posting; check each location’s website for complete information, pricing updates, and a schedule of events.

Slow Cooker Chicken Pho

July 19, 2015

Chicken phoI love my slow cooker, but I really don't use it much during the summer, because, after all, who wants to eat hearty soups and stews on a hot day? Lately, however, I've been trying to think about how to use the slow cooker to make more warm-weather kinds of dishes. One of my successful recipes is for a slow-cooker version of chicken pho, that delicious Vietnamese noodle soup. Simmer the broth all day in the slow cooker, then prep the garnishes and noodles and dinner is ready!

Pho is usually associated with beef, but this chicken version is a little healthier and easier to make. It's probably not 100% authentic, but it tastes pretty darn close to the real thing, without the need to pay a visit to your favorite Vietnamese restaurant (and there aren't too many of them in Marin). One of the great things about pho is that you can vary the taste to your own liking by adding traditional garnishes like fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and chiles. If you (or your kids) like it plain, that's fine, too!

Down on the Farm at the 2015 Sonoma County Fair

July 19, 2015

Sonoma County Fair carnivalIn case you missed or just didn't get enough of the Marin County Fair, you'll be happy to know that the 2015 Sonoma County Fair starts Friday, July 24 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, and runs through Sunday, August 9. It's worth checking out if you've never been: it's bigger and a lot different than Marin's smaller, more intimate fair, and has more of an agricultural focus, which is natural for a more rural county like Sonoma. The Sonoma County Fair also features the largest themed flower show in the country, which is usually pretty stunning—this year's theme is "Barnyard Blossoms".

The fair includes a kids' area with free age-appropriate entertainment and activities that tie into the fair’s theme of “Down on the Farm.” Take part in a special farm-themed show, create farm animal craft projects, participate in farm-related activities, and more. There’s plenty of lawn and shade as well as a parents rest station with changing tables and chairs for nursing. The Farm Fun Show takes place daily at 12:30, 2:30, and 4:30 pm, and the Kids Area is open from 11 am to 8 pm, with activities and entertainment from noon to 6:30 pm.

Celebrate Christmas in July at Five Little Monkeys in Novato

July 18, 2015

Christmas in July at Five Little MonkeysFor one day, only, Saturday, July 25, 2015, Five Little Monkeys will celebrate Christmas in July! Come to Novato's independent toy store and get 25% off one item (with a special coupon available here), get double rewards points on any purchase, and enter a fantastic raffle benefitting Novato schools.

The raffle is open online already and takes place in stores on Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26. Tickets are $5 each or three for $10. You can enter to win a fabulous prize basket—check out the lineup here—and support Novato School Fuel in the process.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for July 17, 18 & 19

July 17, 2015

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, July 17

  • Children's Bill of Rights Day
    Angel Island State Park
    Friday & Saturday, 10:30 am–3 pm

    Celebrate and honor the rights of kids to an outdoor life on Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights Day. Catch the ferry from Tiburon to Angel Island for a fun day of activities. For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Children's Garden Series: The Unique Derique
    Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
    Friday, 11 am & 12:15 pm

    This free event is part of the Children's Garden Series at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. A beloved Bay Area institution, the Unique Derique is a prince among clowns, an internationally esteemed performer who has honed a singular blend of physical comedy and hambone body percussion. This show will takea place the Children's Garden. For more info, visit their website.
  • Tam Valley's Creekside Fridays
    Tennessee Valley Cabin, Mill Valley
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Bring the family, pets, chairs, and blankets to the weekly free musical event. This Friday, Blithedale Canyon will be performing. Food available for purchase. For more info, call (415) 289-4152 or visit their website.
  • Family Movie Night: How to Train Your Dragon 2
    Stafford Lake, Novato
    Friday, 8:30–10:30 pm

    Come enjoy a summer evening on the lawn at Stafford Lake for Family Movie Night! We’ll be featuring How to Train Your Dragon 2, popcorn, and more! Feel free to picnic and BBQ as well. Movie begins 15 minutes after sunset. This event is ideal for all ages. Dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes. Don’t forget to bring low back chairs or a blanket. No pets (except service animals) are allowed at this park. Park entrance fee is waived for participants. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, July 18

  • Civil War Days
    Casini Ranch Family Campground, Duncans Mills
    Satuday, 9 am–5 pm and Sunday, 9 am–3 pm

    Come and experience Civil War living history in the Sonoma County town of Duncans Mills. Interact with soldiers and civilans and see battles, period demonstrations, and even a speech by President Lincoln. Admission is $12 for adults, $6 for juniors 6–12, and free for kids 5 and under. Parking is $5 per car. For more info, visit their website.
  • Teddy Bear Tea with Friends!
    Oakland Zoo
    Saturday, 9:30 am–noon

    Bring the kiddos (ages 4-8), adult and your stuffie, and learn all about one of our Zoo’s special animals. Enjoy a morning of snacks, activities, books and play while making and delivering an enrichment gift straight to the zoo animal you’ve been learning about. When the fun is done, your child will receive a surprise-filled treat bag to take home. Cost: Children: $23.00 for current Oakland Zoo members / $26.00 for non-members. Adults: $12.00 members / $15.00 non-members Parking Fee: $8.00 for non-members. Free for members. Registration required here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Upcycled Instruments
    Novato Library
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Imagine, create and design a musical instrument all your own using a wide array of upcycled materials. For families of all ages. Location: 1720 Novato Boulevard, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • 35th Annual Big Time Festival
    Bear Valley Visitor Center, Point Reyes
    Saturday, 10 am–4 pm

    This free family event celebrates traditional Native American festivals that would bring together local tribes during the summer months. Throughout the day demonstrators will exhibit their skills in basketry, flint knapping, clamshell bead making, and more. Traditional dancers from the Intertribal Pomo group and Dry Creek Pomo will also perform a variety of traditional dances. Vendors will also be selling a wide variety of crafts. This free event is great for the whole family. For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Junior Chef Classes
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am

    Looking for fun snacks to make in the Vitamix? This class is for you! You’ll learn how to make the perfect hummus, sorbet, a purple smoothie, and more! Suitable for ages 8–13. Call the store to reserve your spot (415) 924-6799. Location: The Village at Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Traveling Lantern Theatre: Peter Pan
    Belvedere Tiburon Library, Founder's Room
    Saturday, 11 am

    Traveling Lantern Theatre performs the magical story of the boy who never wanted to grow up. Fly away with the Darling children to Neverland, where Peter battles with a band of pirates and his arch enemy: the villainous Captain Hook. For all ages. Location: 1501 Tiburon Boulevard, Tiburon. For more info, call (415) 789-2665 or visit their website.
  • Teddy Bear Festival
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday and Sunday, 11 am–3 pm

    The annual Teddy Bear Festival returns with an amazing line-up of activities for the weekend. a special photo op with the Berenstain Bears, face painting, crafts and special animal encounters. All activities are free with paid zoo admission. Location: For more info, visit their website.
  • Petaluma Rivertown Revival
    Steamer Landing, Petaluma
    Saturday, 11 am–8 pm

    This is a unique, arts-based thematic festival that sustainably highlights and celebrates the Petaluma River, benefitting the David Yearsley River Heritage Center. This community festival includes over 100 musicians, an art boat flotilla, art boat drag races, aerial acts on the river, artisan merchants, $5 weddings, local food vendors, theatrical performances, and children's activities. Cost: $10 adults, $5 children. For more info, visit their website.
  • The Breastfest Beer Festival
    Marin Center, San Rafael
    Saturday, noon–4 pm
    60 breweries, local food purveyors and Bay Area musicians join together to help women gain access to alternative means of cancer therapy. Attendees get endless eats, bottomless cups, and live music. Proceeds will benefit low-income women with breast cancer. $55 advance, $65 at the door. For more info, visit their website.
  • Novato Theater Kids Club: Lilo & Stitch and Ukulele Basics Class
    Downtown Novato
    Saturday, 1–3:30 pm

    Bring the family to see Walt Disney's Lilo & Stitch. Then learn how to play a song on the ukulele with special guest instructor Amy Wigton. Free. Register online to save your spot. Location: Redwood Credit Union Community Room, 1010 Grant Avenue, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Fun Night at the Pool
    Mill Valley Community Center
    Saturday, 5–7 pm

    Bring the whole family for a night of neon/'80s themed fun at the Mill Valley Community Center! Swim or participate in lots of family friendly activities including: Costume contest, Staff led games and contests, jumpee, face painting and kid nail salon, and kid-friendly movie playing for those who do not want to swim. Only $10 for the entire family! Location: 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley. For more info, call (415) 383-1370.

Homebirth: Not Just for Hippies

July 14, 2015

homebirth midwifeMarin Mommies presents a guest article by local Certified Licensed Midwife Lea Ritter.

Answering the most common questions about home birth.

I am not a hippie, no really, I promise. I know what you're thinking... vegetarian, yoga practicing, home birth midwife... Yeah right. I was born at home and raised by genuine, bonafide, tie-dye-wearing, carob-eating, no-television-watching hippies so I understand... but I truly don't think of myself that way. My kids watch Netflix and have honey nut Cheerios for breakfast, I love pedicures, and I have never worn tie dye in my adult life. When I became pregnant with my first daughter I briefly considered home birth as an option but quickly moved on because I was not THAT kind of woman. Fast forward 7 years and here I am, a licensed midwife, hoping to educate women about home birth and what type of women chooses it. Here are a couple common myths about homebirths:

"Only hippies have home births"

Get Ready for Summertime on Main in Tiburon!

July 14, 2015

Summertime on Main TiburonThis summer, the Town of Tiburon is launching Summertime on Main, a new pilot series of weekday events on Main Street to both encourage residents and visitors to come enjoy the downtown. Starting on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 and taking place on four consecutive Wednesdays through August 12, Main Street will become a pedestrian-only zone from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm with children’s entertainment, live music for kids and adults, sidewalk sales and the opportunity to wine and dine al fresco on the street.

Participating merchants on Tiburon's Main Street and Historic Ark Row will offer special discounts, restaurants will serve meals at outdoor tables and there will be various activities to keep the kids happily engaged while parents enjoy themselves. Up to two hours of validated parking will be available, too.

The inaugural Summertime on Main theme for July 22 is “Main Street Musical", with a performance for kids from the princesses and princes of Marin's Once Upon a Song and music from the Rusty Strings Express for grownups. Upcoming performers include magician Heather Rogers, children's peformer Tim Cain, and live music and hula from Aloha Polynesia.

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